Slice of Cheese

NPL Weekend Washup

By Andrew Cooling.

Fast Starting City Claim Derby Delight

Launceston City wasted no time in making their mark in the first Launceston Derby of the season, scoring twice in the opening 10 minutes to set up a resounding 4-0 win over Riverside Olympic and claim local bragging rights.

This one was all but over very early on in proceedings as City took advantage of some early fortune when a misplaced clearance fell to Daniel Smith all alone at the back post who fired home the opener 8 minutes in. The second came just 2 minutes later and was a lovely piece of skill from Jarrod Linger, who turned his marker in the box before picking out the top corner with a perfect curling left-footed shot.

In between the two goals, Lachie Clark made a sharp glove save to keep out James Hall and the City skipper would make more before the night was done as he was made to earn his clean sheet. 

It was almost 3-0 after just 20 minutes of play when the lively Jaden Fidra drew a strong save from Daniel Nash, who was kept busy in the Riverside net, and he was forced into an even more spectacular stop later in the half to deny Linger what would’ve been a stunning second.

City would get their third goal just before half time as another misplaced clearance brought Riverside undone. This time it fell to Albert Amankwaa who took a tidy touch to set himself before expertly picking out the bottom corner. Amankwaa made it brace when he struck again shortly after the restart, volleying home Gedi Krusa’s well taken free kick to make it 4-0 after 48 minutes.

The Lithuanian pulled the strings in midfield wonderfully throughout the game and his ability to thread through balls to his speedy frontline is a crucial element of City’s attacking threat.

There was no more scoring in the final 40 minutes, though that was largely down to both keepers who made some nice saves. With the game was settled as a contest, the furious pace from the first half dissipated somewhat during the second 45 and it ended 4-0.

The win leaves City with 2 wins from 2 games and given the Covid issues they have been managing, they will be delighted with that. Bigger challenges await them, but they certainly look like they will be a very tough out at Buckby Park this season.

Riverside meanwhile are facing a long season unless they can get things sorted quickly. 5-0, 4-0 and 4-0 losses in their opening three games is far from an ideal way to start the season. Whilst they have had some personnel issues to deal with, they’ve also looked a long way off the sides they’ve played so far and will need to improve if they are to take points. Olympia at Windsor Park next week should provide a chance for that.  

South Spark Late but Knights Hold on For a Point

A furious late push from South Hobart almost saw them storming over the top of the Glenorchy Knights to claim all three points from their enormous Round 3 clash at KGV, but ultimately, they couldn’t find a second goal and the spoils were shared as it ended locked at 1-1.

For 70 minutes it was probably one of the more boring games you’d be likely to see. To be fair conditions played a significant role in that. The wind was absolutely howling through KGV, straight down one end of the pitch and when you combine that with the fast synthetic surface, it meant any mistouch or slightly overhit pass and the ball would simply motor away from the players. Long-range passing into the wind also proved incredibly tough, especially with both sides well set up in defence. The result was 70 minutes of play with a grand total of about 3 scoring chances produced. 

Knights managed to take one of those rare chances though when Kyle Vincent, who put in an enormous shift leading the line, got a well-deserved goal on 35 minutes. The Knights’ front man thumped home a header from an Austin Yost corner to give the Knights a 1-0 lead at the halftime break. It was one of the only real chance Knights created during the game, as South saw more of the ball but time and time again let themselves down with some ordinary delivery into the penalty area.

That changed on 70 minutes when Lachie Semmler produced a cross of considerable quality that split the defence and allowed Nick Morton to hammer home the equalizer at the back post.

The goal seemed to spark the game into life and the final 20 minutes saw significantly more excitement and chances than the prior 69 minutes had by some distance. 

Van Doorne and Semmler combined to create a chance for Berezansky who sliced his shot wide before Josh Divin rattled the crossbar with a glancing header from a corner moments later.

Divin then turned provider for Van Doorne when he stormed past two defenders and his cross found the Canadian unmarked 6 yards out, but he could only volley his shot into his own arm and the glorious opportunity for the win went to waste.

One last chance would fall the way of Ewan Larby but his effort was blocked away on the line by substitute Thomas Walpole, who denied his former side and ensured Knights held on for a point.

Knights have probably been the second-best side in both games against their title rivals over the past fortnight yet have walked away with four points. In a results business that’s ultimately all that matters, and they would certainly have taken that if it was offered to them, so they can sit content with their work through 3 rounds. South will be encouraged by this display though even if they will be frustrated that they couldn’t convert one of those late chances and take all three points.  

Spaniard’s Hat-trick Sinks Warriors

A hat-trick from Spanish import Roberto Fernandez Garrido has helped the Devonport Strikers bounce back from last weekend’s defeat at the hands of Glenorchy Knights with a comfortable 4-0 win over the Olympia Warriors.

They took their time to break the Warriors down, who defended valiantly, but they finally broke through in stoppage time of the first half when Yasin Mohammadi dissected the defence to spring the Spaniard who rifled home his first of the day. 

That combination also provided the Strikers’ second on 74 minutes as Mohammadi crossed one in for Fernandez Garrido to score again and provide the insurance goal they were after.

Olympia were left fuming, feeling that play should have been blown dead for a head knock to one of their players in the build-up but whilst they might technically have had a point, given that it happened a long way up the pitch and the defence who were all back and set knew that the whistle hadn’t blown, they can’t really blame conceding the goal on that. 

That second seemed to burst the dam wall as Joel Stone came off the bench and added a third before Fernandez-Garrido completed his hat-trick with a thumping finish that would prove to be the final kick of the game.

For Devonport this was just a matter of taking care of business, they should be taking 3 points from these types of games, and they duly did. The fact they had the luxury of starting Joel Stone on the bench with a plan to use him as a tactical second half sub shows the enviable depth they possess. No other side in the league would be leaving a player of such quality on the bench at this early stage of the year if they were fully fit. As the season wears on, that depth may yet prove decisive! 

For Olympia, things are not looking good. They came into the season having lost some key players and knowing they were up against it, but to not have scored in 3 home games to start the year is a worrying trend. They’ve really looked impotent in an attacking sense and whilst they’ve faced some quality opposition, the lack of goal threat must be a concern.  Next week’s trip to Windsor Park to take on Riverside is now looming as a massive game for both sides, as they will be eyeing each other off as the side they are most likely to take points from this year.